"But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)
When is the last time you thought you saw (encountered) an angel? It has been over 20 years but I have a vivid memory of one of the times I had angels with me. I had car trouble, in a very remote spot in the Texas hill country, after an evening class. It was about 9:30 and my car died. I was able to pull as far off the twisting, curving road (small two lane road) as I could. I was sitting trying to decide what to do when a couple turned around, came back and offered to help. They took me back into town and stayed with me until the tow truck arrived. I found out later that friends, at church -- literally they were at the church preparing for a meeting the next day -- stopped what they were doing to pray for my safety. All of them were angels that night!
Angels appear in the Christmas story several times to various people from Zechariah (in the Temple) to Mary (in today's reading) to the shepherds (in a field). In each case the angels start out by saying "do not be afraid." Things are changing for each of these, and others where angels appear, so starting with "do not be afraid" makes sense. The response of each person is to follow where God is leading -- Zechariah's son John, Mary's son Jesus and the shepherds going to find "Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger." (Luke 2:15)
Yes, we are busy as caretakers with a lot happening at any given moment in our day. So I ask again.... when was the last time you encountered an angel? The words of encouragement needed at just the right time, the help needed at just the right time or even just a few minutes of QUIET at just the right time? I would also ask, even with our crazy schedules, when was the last time you were an angel to someone?
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